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Do you have to try mediation before going to court in California?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Divorce |

Mediation has become a popular tool for couples ending their marriages. When a couple goes through mediation, they negotiate and effectively retain control over the conditions and terms of their divorce.

In recent years, mediation has become more mainstream, making it one of the most popular divorce solutions in modern America. Couples in California may consider mediation if they want to keep their divorce affordable or if they want to maintain their privacy.

Other couples may believe that litigation is a better approach to the end of their marriage. Is mediation ever compulsory during a California divorce? 

The family courts require custody mediation prior to litigation

Couples without minor children or who only have disputes about property division can choose on their own if mediation is the right option for their family. Couples who have yet to reach a custody agreement or who intensely disagree about custody terms typically cannot go immediately to a court hearing over custody.

Before they can litigate, they will need to attempt to mediate their custody dispute. The California family courts will provide a single mediation session at no cost to the parents to help them resolve the matter. In theory, mediation can help the couple work out a solution and reduce the demand for time in the family courts.

If the divorcing parents cannot resolve their disagreements, then custody litigation will move forward. Even in circumstances involving allegations of abuse, the courts will still require mediation, although they may facilitate separate spaces so that the spouses don’t have to directly face one another.

You may find working with your own mediator is a better solution

The California family courts have a massive caseload, which is one of the reasons why the state has limits on what mediation services they will provide in a custody dispute. If you think that mediation is the key to resolving your disagreements about custody but you imagine it will take more than one session, your family might benefit from retaining your own mediator who will cooperate with both spouses and their attorneys.

Learning more about the custody litigation process in California will help you make better plans regarding your upcoming divorce.